This past week I made a homemade apple pie. I was going to pull out my new peeler/corer attachment to my KitchenAid®, but I chose to do it by hand and let some precious memories flow instead.
When I was a young girl I loved going over to Nana’s (my grandmother’s) house most times. There were the occasions that I hated it as well; like doing laundry with her on a Monday! She used an old-fashioned wringer washer. Those old beasts were brutal! Sometimes when I wasn’t paying close enough attention, my fingers would get into the rollers and feed my hand in up to my knuckles! At that point it would pop open, but by then I was already screaming at the top of lungs. It didn’t get me out of finishing though. I was scolded for not paying attention (she was correct), and then she would rub my hand and kiss it… then back to work girl! Later in the day she made us the most delectable ham and swiss sandwiches on Italian bread to be washed down with Pepsi-cola while we watched the afternoon feature film. But Monday mornings were all business! She was busy getting the clothes that were drying on the line outside or hung downstairs in the winter. She would take Grandpa’s shirts and slacks and slightly dampen them with a Pepsi bottle topped with a spigot sprinkler and then roll them up and put into the freezer until time to iron. I did learn to iron from her, and you know what; I love ironing to this day. Many think it is a terrible chore but to me it is freedom from stress and worry. Just pop on some good music and boogie on down while you iron away.
Around the holidays, Nana always made the apple pies. They were glorious and I always ate way too much dolloped with schlog (DreamWhip). A few times I was there for the preparation. It started with Grandpa peeling and coring and slicing up bowls and bowls of Macintosh apples, with 1 large sweet apple added per pie made. Now this was done meticulously under her watchful eye with lots of directions. He would look at Nana and say, “Sarah, do you want these done right or done fast?” I loved when he could peel an apple all in one strip! She would just smile at us cheering away.
In the meantime, she would be working on the pie crusts. I got snippets of directions, ‘Always use fresh Crisco and icy ice water; don’t touch the dough too much with your hands or it won’t be flaky, use the wooden spoon instead; chill the bottom crust before you fill it or bake it.’ These things are hard to find in a cookbook these days. Then she used the correct amount of sugar and cinnamon with a dash of salt and cloves in the huge spaghetti pot now holding ALL of those apple slices. The pot was not for cooking at this time. It was the only bowl/pot large enough to hold everything at one time. Oh, I forgot about the cornstarch; always add a few tablespoons to the big pot and then a sprinkle on each individual pie, along with a pat of butter cut up in tiny pieces and strewn about before crowning the heaping masterpiece with the top crust. Pinch the sides just so, then she would go over it with a fork making tine marks all around the perimeter. Slits cut into the top and then egg wash painted onto the top crust and they were ready for the oven! It was so hard to smell those pies and know I would not be tasting them today! Personally, I think Grandpa should get as much of the credit as Nana for the pies. But he never would take it.
Being a foodie and a baker, I can re-create her recipe in a snap. What I cannot recreate is the fun time I had learning from her and Grandpa. So, I created times with my children through the years baking and cooking and sewing (and laundry and ironing).
I also cannot recreate how my grandparents overcame things that life can throw at you so unkindly sometimes. They were of the Greatest Generation. They didn’t throw things away just because they were broken. They fixed things or made do with them and were still thankful no matter what. They taught us not to be wasteful of anything, and to give to the less fortunate. We all are learning or relearning these things in this time of being home for safety with this world wide COVID-19 flu pandemic. Both of them survived the Spanish flu of 1917-1918, WW1, StockMkt crash 1929, WW2, and on and on….
They were officers in the Volunteers of America for a long time, but didn’t actually accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour until they were well into their 60’s. So, I can make her/their pie AND I will get to see them again in Heaven one day. My heart is so happy!
This month is the anniversary of Nana’s birthday on the 15th and their Anniversary on the 7th. When they stepped into Heaven in 2002 and 2003, they had been married for 68 years. I know they are probably up there Square Dancing for their King of Kings.
Isaiah 41:10 (NASB)
10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Thank you for giving me such great grandparents. They weren’t perfect people, but they were perfect for me. I bless their memory. Help me to give what you have taught me to others freely and openly and transparently. They knew it was okay to be a mess sometimes, and that Love wins in the end. Thank you for that stability.
A muse of the Remnant